On December 29, the University of Maryland and East Carolina University football squads will tangle at RFK Stadium for the Military Bowl. Leading up to that game, we thought it’d be fun to look past the gridiron and try to take a look at some of the culture of the two institutions and areas. Naturally, College Park is probably more familiar to DC residents than Greenville, but hopefully we can still share some interesting stuff you may not know.
Join us after the jump as we play “Better Know an Alma Mater” with these two schools.
The University of Maryland
Main Campus: College Park, Maryland
Enrollment: 26,500 undergraduate; 10,000 post graduate
Well-Known Alums: Sergey Brin, Jim Henson, Larry David, Scott Van Pelt
Did you know…: The nation’s first dental school was opened at the University of Maryland, albeit the Baltimore campus, in 1840
Athletics Mascot: Terrapin
Talking about the University of Maryland while just around the corner from it is pretty easy, and I’m sure that we’ll attract at least one commenter set on finding some more notable alumni than the quick list above. As the Terps get set for a practical home game here in the District, it’d be easy to go with normal stereotypes about the nature of UMD fans, but we’re better than that.
I spoke with Ashkon Eslami, a 2009 graduate of the university, about some of the cultural things that ECU fans should know. That last thought is certainly something that stood out in his responses. “Contrary to our reputation, the vast majority of Maryland students display great sportsmanship…It’s a shame that the actions of a few over the past decade have caused other institutions to question the character of our student body and University.”
Eslami also noted that if there’s anything that Pirate fans wanted to bring back to Greenville with them, he recommended “obviously something with Maryland Blue Crab in it. I would go with the Crab and Artichoke Dip from Bentley’s.”
We won’t be all about football, but I did ask Eslami to chime in and offer his prediction. “General sentiments tend to think this game will be a shootout with total points scored even reaching as high as 90. I don’t see it going that high, but it should be entertaining, nonetheless. Final score is Maryland 45, ECU 31.”
Main Campus: Greenville, North Carolina
Enrollment: 20,974 undergraduate; 6,417 post graduate
Well-Known Alums: Sandra Bullock, Vince McMahon, NFLers Chris Johnson and David Garrard
Did you know…: The school colors for East Carolina University – purple and gold – were voted on by students in 1909, and are officially “Old Gold” and “Royal Purple”
Athletic Mascot: Pirate
Fight Song: E.C. Victory
The Pirates don’t take too many trips up to the DC area for football action – playing in Conference-USA, they may occasionally schedule a school like Maryland or Virginia every few years, but when they get a chance to play an ACC school, they are likely to stay home and face one of the four other FBS programs in the state of North Carolina. As Steve Young, ECU grad from 1969 told me, most people don’t realize that “ECU is one of only five BCS level schools in N.C., the other four being members of the ACC. ”
Nestled in Greenville and, obviously, the eastern part of the state of North Carolina, Steve told me that the city and school are full of “passionate, supportive Pirates who attend ECU bowl games en masse.” If you see a purple takeover on the metro later this month, that’s probably what happened. I’m also working on verifying a claim from a few sites I found that Greenville is the “Hammock-Making Capital of the World” thanks to the a massive hammock factory outlet store.
Steve got the same chance to give a prediction that Ashkon did, of course: “Final Score: ECU 34, Maryland 30.”
I love blatant homerism, and really want to thank both Steve and Ashkon for contributing.